Microsoft Dismisses British Objections to Anti-Linux Ad

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-08-25 Print this article Print

Microsoft sources claim a British regulatory agency's objections to an anti-Linux print advertisement are moot because the ad hasn't run in any UK publications since May.

Microsoft sources said Wednesday that a British regulatory agencys objections to an anti-Linux advertisement published as part of its controversial "Get the Facts" campaign are moot because the ad is no longer running.

The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decision issued Wednesday found that a Microsoft advertisement placed in a British specialist magazine claiming that open-source Linux was far more expensive to run than Windows was misleading. ASA called on Microsoft to amend the ad.

Tracey Pretorius, the manager for Microsoft UK, said the company had been working with the ASA to "understand and address their concerns about the advertisement in question.

"Our customers continue to value information comparing the various vendor technology offerings. We believe it is important to continue to provide this kind of factual information," she said.

A source close to Microsoft and familiar with the matter said Wednesday that Microsoft had worked with the ASA in advance and submitted all ads for general approval before they were run, as was its standard policy on advertising.

"The ad in question was cleared, in advance, by the ASA. Evidently theyre going back on that based on anonymous inquiries challenging the advertisement," the source said.

The source suggested that the issue is moot because "these advertisements arent even running now as they only ran from February to May of this year in the UK," the source said. Click here to read the details about Microsofts advertising campaign to counter the expanding use of Linux.

Microsoft launched in January the "Get the Facts" campaign, which is designed to give customers information about the advantages of using its Windows operating system versus Linux, its open-source competitor.

That campaign is the latest attempt by the Redmond, Wash., software company to counter the success of Linux and is in line with the strategy embraced by the companys open-source and Linux strategist, Martin Taylor. Taylor has said his personal mission is to publicize studies that showed Microsoft software beating open-source alternatives on return on investment.

But many of the statements and "facts" have been challenged by the Linux and open-source community.

In fact, at the OReilly Open-Source Convention held in Portland last month Peter Shay, the executive vice president of the Advisory Council, a business technology advisory group, said the business case for adopting Linux over Microsofts Windows was an economic decision, but not one where the total cost of ownership was a fundamental issue.

In his talk, titled "Linux Versus Windows: Business Perspectives," Shay said one fundamental business issue at hand is that the essence of "open" is the avoidance of vendor lock-in. In the long term, he said, the users of proprietary systems are at their vendors mercy.

Next Page:Cost comparisons found missleading

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel